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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 28 January 2021

Welsh rugby player to serve four-year ban for anti-doping violation

The amateur player accepted the charge but disputed the suspension, claiming he might have ingested contaminated meat.

A WELSH RUGBY player has been banned from all competitive sport by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) for a period of four years following an anti-doping violation.

UKAD collected an out-of-competition urine sample from Mark Jones on 25 April 2019 following training at his club, Cambrian Welfare RFC. Jones’ A Sample tested positive for the anabolic agent clenbuterol, which is used to gain muscle and burn fat. The drug is banned at all times under the WADA 2019 Prohibited List.

UKAD issued Jones with a notice of charge and a provisional suspension on 30 August last year and, while he accepted the charge, he disputed the sanction, contending that he had unintentionally purchased cheap meat in South Wales that he claimed must have been contaminated.

The UK’s National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) considered the case, rejected Jones’ claim and on 7 February 2020 issued him with a four-year ban from sport which is backdated to 25 April 2019 and will expire at midnight on 24 April 2023.

A subsequent appeal by Jones was ultimately dismissed on 24 December 2020 by an NADP appeal tribunal.

Speaking on the case, UKAD Director of Operations, Pat Myhill said: “Clenbuterol is a very powerful substance and is not licensed for human consumption in the UK. It poses a serious risk to health for anyone who takes it.

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“But when it comes to sport, the only reason you would take it is to gain an unfair advantage over your opponents, to cheat, to undermine fair play and the values of sport.

“The NADP investigated and considered Mr Jones’ claims that the findings were potentially the result of meat contamination. However, Mr Jones was unable to provide any evidence to support his claim.”

Jones is the first Welsh rugby player to suspended for an anti-doping violation since a Welsh Championship player, Ystalyfera RFC’s Jesse Patton, had a four-year ban confirmed in July of last year after he tested positive for the anabolic steroid metendienone in September of 2019.

Patton, too, maintained his innocence, claiming his “totally unintentional” violation may have been the result of medication given to him by his friend after he had contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

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